Dictionary meaning of reward is something given or received in return for a service, metric, hardship etc.

In typical reward system one celebrates success of an individual or team based on their hard work or value added to organisation (usually one is rewarded for success). Ceremonies are held and art effects are presented in form of monetary items, recognition certificates and well done emails. In reward communication these keywords are mostly used “going extra mile”, “proactive behavior”, “going out-of-the-way”, “excellent team work” etc.

I understand that reward system plays important role in organisation’s culture and shows that people are treated with respect and valued for their contribution. High point in these ceremonies  are usually individual or a team getting the reward but not the steps that one took to be rewarded (I understand that there are small speeches and emails. But do you really remember who was the top performer in your team 6 months ago? and why they received the reward (ah ha.. a moment for thought perhaps).

This idea has been flickering in my mind that reward system and understanding system are interlinked with each other and by combining these systems we can help teams better understand about the actual behavior that led someone to get rewarded.

Some of the basic characteristics of combined system can be (I call this “Understanding System”)

  • Better recognition and radiation of non-formal learning
  • Spaced learning rather than cramped learning
  • Increased motivation
  • Acceleration in idea generation
  • Increased workplace satisfaction and talent retention

I am interested to know what reward system you have in-place for your team and how is it helping your team to learn, grow and understand the actual behavior that led to the reward?

The Exercise:

Last year I ran a Marshmallow Challenge with development teams in Cyberjaya at Experian Malaysia. Majority of the team members worked together in an agile environment for a year.

The Idea:

How agile teams respond to a challenge when they have to do a continues collaboration in order to deliver a working product at the end of time-boxed iteration.

The Outcome:

Our game workshop was full of fun and we learned a lot about collaboration and delivery. Here are the few highlights.
  • Not a single team was able build a standing structure at the first attempt
  • Then we paused and identified areas of improvement
    • Importance of  collaboration
    • How to identify and remove hidden assumptions
    • Test early and test often
  • In the second attempt most teams were able to build a successful structure that can hold a marshmallow

The Question?

How are you testing level of collaborate within your team and what you are doing to improve it?

Workshop Time-lapse

In previous post I explained just one scenario where lack of user feedback during development can land your project into the wilderness with your clients.

Traditionally in software teams roles like business analysts, product owners and usability specialists are responsible for getting client’s feedback by variety of means. It’s time to empower our teams with new feedback and interface testing tools, so they can grab every opportunity to collect smart feedback data and build great products, save cost with higher client satisfaction.

Let me propose few ideas for software development teams

  1. Get closer to your clients by measuring and reducing feedback loop travel time.
  2. To me feedback is a “Value Channel”, so if you create new channels you’ll increase the value of your product.
  3. Use new tools available in the market to collect your feedback.
  4. Make data based decisions rather than emotional ones by validating your idea.
  5. Client’s time is important and providing feedback shouldn’t be more than 2 clicks away.

List of few feedback and interface testing tools

Verify - verifyapp.com
Notable –  notableapp.com
Bugherd - bugherd.com
Usabilla – usabilla.com

What’s your feedback loop travel time and what tools you are using to collect data?

So why not validate your strategy before or during your project before you spend too much time and money.